Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry. I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world.
You can find Helen here, and here on Ravelry.
Where do you find inspiration?
All over the place! Mainly from my children and babies at my pediatric practice. For my adult garments, I love perusing fashion magazines to get ideas for necklines or unusual shapes. Also, my stitch dictionaries often inspire me. I will sometimes design a whole sweater around one particular lace pattern.
What is your favourite knitting technique?
I really enjoy cables, lace, and colorwork. I find constant stockinette stitch too boring and get frustrated easily. I love charts, and find that time goes quickly if I am checking off rows on a chart.
How do you feel about the so called controversy of “dumbing down” patterns for knitters?
This is a hard one because the more I knit and design, the harder my patterns get, and harder patterns aren’t always the most popular. I try to find a middle ground. I try to include interesting and special components to each pattern, but maintain an overall ease to working the pattern.
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
I almost always knit at least one prototype sweater while coming up with the pattern. I use test knitters on Ravelry and sometimes ask one of the test knitters to knit up a certain size and send it to me for photos. For my more complicated patterns, I will pay a tech editor to double check my final draft.
Did you do a formal business plan?
Not yet. My youngest goes to Kindergarten in the fall of 2015, so I plan to come up with one at that point. Right now it’s 100% hobby.
Do you have a mentor?
No, but sometimes I wish I did!
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
How are you using social media to grow your business?
I will use Facebook to post my new patterns, but I’ve really had to focus my energy in as few places as possible because of time restraints. I mainly focus on Ravelry.
Do you use a tech editor?
My goal is to use a tech editor for all my adult patterns. For the simpler baby patterns that have been tested extensively, I don’t use one.
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
I try to do a little bit of knitting or knitting related work every week, but don’t pressure myself to do a certain amount. Some weeks are more crazy and knitting is last on my list and that’s okay.
How do you deal with criticism?
I answer questions and concerns quickly and thoroughly and try not to take things personally.
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
My business makes very little money (if any), but I enjoy it!
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
I’m not the person to ask just yet, maybe in a few years…
What’s next for you?
I would like to work on my website, have tutorials and a blog, and maybe eventually a book. Right now I need to finish this adult sweater in sock yarn with a lot of stockintette stitch!